Creating a Blank Workbook

When Excel opens, a blank workbook is displayed, waiting for your input. By default, the workbook contains three blank worksheets. You can enter any text or data on the worksheets that you want. The working title for the blank workbook is something like Book1. (The number following the word Book is based on the number of blank workbooks you've opened during the current Excel session.) When you save the file, the name you type overwrites the default name.

While you're working in Excel, you can open a new blank workbook by clicking the New button on the Standard toolbar, or by pressing Ctrl+N. Alternatively, you can click the New command on the File menu.


You learn about using templates in Hour 6, "Using Excel Templates."

Creating Workbooks with the New Workbook Task Pane

With the New Workbook task pane (see Figure 4.1), you can create new workbooks in several other ways. The task pane is organized into three sections: New, Templates, and Recently Used Templates.

Figure 4.1. The New Workbook task pane for opening and creating workbooks.


The New option features the following:

  • Blank Workbook? Create a new blank workbook.

  • From Existing Workbook? Creates a new workbook based on an existing workbook. Click Choose Workbook to display the New From Existing Workbook dialog box. From here, select a workbook and click the Create New button.

The Templates on Microsoft Office Online option presents the following choices:

  • Search? If you already know the type or name of the template you want to use, type the template name or keyword in the Search box: calendar, for example. Excel will display a list of templates related to the keyword you entered. Click the template you want and Excel creates a new workbook based on that template.

  • Templates Home Page? If you don't know the name of a template, click Templates Home Page to find a template at Microsoft Office Online. On the Templates home page, the templates are organized by category. Click the links to find the template you want to use, and click Edit in Excel to download the template into a new workbook. The template link will appear at the top of the list in the Other templates section in the New Workbook task pane for your convenience.

The choices available with the Other Templates option are as follows:

  • On My Computer? Click On My Computer and Excel displays the general templates on your computer in the Templates dialog box. Select a template and click OK. Excel creates a new workbook based on the selected template.

  • On My Web Sites? Click On My Web Sites and Excel displays your favorite Web sites, or templates from the Microsoft Web site.

    Part I: Excel Basics